Delaphine (Della) Griffith was born in Washington, D.C. on December 13, 1896 to Sarah Thomas. She lived in D.C. with her mother until 1916 when she moved to Atlantic City, New Jersey for work. Later that year she moved on to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Mrs. Griffith moved back to Washington, D.C. and met and married Alan Griffith in 1919. Together they had a daughter whom they named Jacqueline. Throughout her adult life, Mrs. Griffith lived with her mother and family on the northwest side of Washington, D.C. She worked for the federal government during two different periods: the early 1930s and during World War II. On November 19, 1950, Mrs. Delaphine Griffith died at the age of 54. Jacqueline Griffith continued to live in the family home until her death in the early 1990s.
The collection, which dates from 1907 to 1950, bulk dates 1913-1945, and measures 4.21 linear feet, documents the lives of three generations of the Griffith family: Sarah Thomas, Delaphine Griffith, and Jacqueline Griffith, while primarily focused on Delaphine (Della) Griffith. The papers document Mrs. Griffith's relationships with friends and family through extensive correspondence, as well as her experiences as a domestic servant and federal employee. It also documents daily life in Washington D.C. through receipts and bills of sale. Mrs. Griffith and Ms. Griffith also retained a large phonograph record collection comprised of jazz, swing band, and rhythm and blues music.
Griffiths Family Papers, Anacostia Community Museum Archives, Smithsonian Institution, gift of June Brown
African American families
African American household employees
African American--Social life and customs
African American women
World War 1939-1945--Economic aspects--United States
Use of the materials requires an appointment. Please contact the archivist to make an appointment: ACMarchives@si.edu